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Today we’re sitting down with the CEO and Co-founder of Wize Monkey, Max Rivest, who talks to us about their company that produces coffee leaf tea. The road to success wasn’t always easy, but Max’s tireless passion and persistence has resulted in a successful business that not only crafts an entirely unique product, but one that also contributes to the sustainability of the coffee industry.

Max shares about his educational background, how his mother’s wisdom has been a guiding light along his path of important decision-making and about the job that gave way to a quarter-life crisis. We get into more detail about the time he spent in France, the valuable lessons he learned there and how a project in his MBA studies started him off on the exploration into coffee leaf tea.

Having a marketing and branding background, we discuss the various approaches Max has taken in selling their product, including the realization that they needed a stronger emphasis on the quality and taste of their tea rather than focusing predominantly on the social impact. There is so much to be inspired by, not to mention Max’s totally relatable experiences.

So be sure to join in here or on your favorite platform for another awesome episode of the Grow Ensemble Podcast!

Episode Links:

Show Topics:

  • More about what they do over at Wize Monkey. [0:02:07]
  • How their business promotes sustainability in coffee farming communities. [0:03:25]
  • Max’s educational and employment background leading up to Wize Monkey. [0:04:52]
  • How his time in Bordeaux set the stage for what is now a successful business. [0:06:32]
  • The role his mother played in cultivating in him as a desire to do a meaningful, fulfilling job. [0:08:20]
  • His internal struggles of working in a space that was not right for him. [0:13:38]
  • Why you have the power to become the person you want to be. [0:17:07]
  • What action steps Max took to move towards doing something he cares about. [0:22:25]
  • The circumstances that led to a caffeine overdose and his exploration of the coffee leaf. [0:28:55]
  • The process of starting the business after completing his MBA. [0:35:35]
  • Why there is much more room for creativity in coffee leaf crafting than in producing the beans. [0:38:57]
  • How Max approached marketing and branding an entirely first-of-its-kind product. [0:41:33]
  • Why the social impact of their product couldn’t be the primary selling point. [0:44:41]
  • Some of the goals for Wize Monkey for 2019. [0:50:53]
  • And much more!


  • “If you literally follow your passion and you keep doing it, you’re just going to get better non-stop and eventually that will bring enough value to somebody that you’ll get paid for it.” — @maxrivest [0:08:58]

  • “If you work on something that you don’t care about, you’ll never be good at it.” — @maxrivest [0:11:13]

  • This past summer we employed over 120 people and created over 50 000 work hours during the off season, whereas they typically wouldn’t have any work at all.” — @maxrivest [0:40:45]

  • “You don’t need to be capitalistic, but you also need to make sure that you’re making some sales to then create more impact later.” — @maxrivest [0:45:59]

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